Papa John Schnatter surfs the sand during the Harbin Park International. Photo by Todd Dittrich

Papa John’s Pizza Joins Zipp Speed Weaponry as OVCX Sponsor.

Mitch Graham, director of the OVCX cyclocross series, announced today that long-time title sponsor Zipp Speed Weaponry has renewed its title sponsorship of the Midwestern series and has been joined by Papa John’s Pizza. The series will now be known as the Zipp OVCX Cyclocross Tour presented by Papa John’s.

Both Zipp Speed Weaponry and Papa John’s are based in the tri-state OVCX territory of Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.  And being located in of one of America’s cyclocross racing hotbeds had a direct influence on their decisions to sponsor the 15-race series. “We feel it’s important to sponsor this race series when it’s in our own back yard,” says Zipp Marketing Manager Andy Paskins. Meanwhile, Papa John’s involvement started years ago when company founder and CEO “Papa John” Schnatter took up cycling to maintain his fitness and soon found himself racing a few crits and cyclocross races, including major events such as Cincinnati’s Harbin Park (pictured). Papa John’s corporate sponsorship of cycling began at the 2003 Master’s Road Nationals in Louisville and continues with the Papa John’s Racing Team, which now is adding a contingent of junior riders. Papa John’s has also sponsored the Derby City Cup in Louisville, which is part of both the Zipp OVCX Tour presented by Papa John’s and the Greenware USGP. “Cycling, and cyclocross in particular, is a great way to stay fit and have fun at the same time,” said Schnatter recently, “and Papa John’s is proud to support cycling events such as the Zipp OVCX Tour presented by Papa John’s as well as the Papa John’s Racing Team.”

According to his friend Bob Bobrow, a long-time ’cross racer and one of the leaders of Louisville’s fantastically successful youth ’cross movement, Schnatter was a capable amateur racer. “He was and is strong. But he’s a fast-twitch guy, for sure. So I never had much trouble taking him in ’cross,” Bobrow says with a smile.

These days, the time limitations inherent with running an international corporation restrict ‘Papa’ to recreational cycling as part of his fitness regimen. But it’s likely that Schnatter can lay claim to being the first CEO of a major American corporation to have lined-up with the best masters ’cross racers in the country at events like the Zipp OVCX Tour presented by Papa John’s Harbin Park UCI race.

This year’s Zipp OVCX Cyclocross Tour presented by Papa John’s consists of 15 races:

September 19: Kings CX – Cincinnati, Ohio

October 3: Tour of Louisville – Kentucky

$30,000 Cincinnati UCI3 International Cyclocross Festival:

October 8 Cincinnati UCI3: Devou Park, Covington, Kentucky (UCI C2)

October 9 Cincinnati UCI3: Sunset Park, Middletown, Ohio (UCI C2)

October 10 Cincinnati UCI3: Harbin Park, Fairfield, Ohio (UCI C1)

October 17: Bloomingcross presented by DRT Consulting – Bloomington, Indiana

Papa John’s USGP:

October 23: Derby City Cup USGP  (UCI C1) – Louisville, Kentucky
October 24: Derby City Cup USGP  (UCI C2) – Louisville, Kentucky

October 31: STG at Eva Bandman Park – Louisville, Kentucky

November 7: Gun Club Cross – Cincinnati, Ohio

November 14: Cap City Cross Infirmary Mound – Columbus, Ohio

November 21: Promotion Cross – Lexington, Kentucky

November 28: Buckingham Financial John Bryan State Park Ohio State Champs – Yellow Springs, Ohio

Indianapolis Weekend:

December 4: St Mary’s Child Center CX – Indianapolis, Indiana
December 5: OVCX Finale – Brookside Cross Cup Indiana State Champs – Indianapolis, Indiana is the official online pre-registration service for all OVCX-affiliated races. For more information on the Zipp OVCX Tour presented by Papa John’s, see